The Stress Risk Score
Centric has built a stress risk score based on the 4 most prevalent and biologically significant environmental stressors to create a geospatial biological stress diagnostic tool.
It gives an indication to the underlying environmental stressors that have the most impact on the human biological system, specifically the stress response.
It helps business owners, urban planners, charity organisations and infrastructure groups see the built environment through a more human layer to make more effective decisions.
City centres are dominated by cultural institutions, destination retail and workplaces. They act as the dominating magnet pulling people into a centre from across the city and far away.
However, as cities such as London put layer upon layer of activity on top of each other their intensity builds up.
Businesses are beginning to value their employees wellbeing as much as the employee themselves. This is because there is a direct link between a person’s wellbeing and their workplace performance.
The future of work is becoming defined by more complex cognitive tasks as automation takes over the simple work. These higher level tasks are susceptible to stress and thus the connection between a person’s environment-wellbeing-performance becomes stronger.
Whilst architects and certification standards are improving the quality of interior spaces, ignoring the lived urban experience comes at a cost. This influences business owners and placemakers to assess:
How to compare different locations from human metrics to encourage greater health and performance of workers?
Will people’s journey to a destination influence their expectation and needs when there?
How can the walkability and way-finding of an area be improved?
Whilst many of us accept that city centres are polluted by default what is becoming more apparent is densification of inner city suburbs such as the area highlighted here in Islington.
Population increases and housing demands have increased density and activity, as a result environmental stressors can be found to be as high in family neighbourhoods as city centres.
Where this becomes of use is to isolate areas where young families, independent young professionals and social housing residents are forces to reside in health impacting areas with little agency to mitigate.
On the example shown here whilst the deeply residential enclave of Tufnell Park scores an average 2.1, the residential roads to the east don’t benefit from such luxury. Equally, as a result for those that work in a zone 1 area and live in a zone 2 area, escape from biologically stressful environments becomes harder and harder to find.
What this means is that until wider urban factors are changed the importance of the home grows in order to help manage people’s mental and physical health.
This means answering questions such as:
What wellbeing factors is a residential development targeting?
What can planners, authorities and groups do to lower stressors and reduce long term health impacts.
What high streets cause people problems.
Suburban living is intended to be a respite from polluted city centres but provide space and peace of mind for people that still want access the benefits cities offer.
However, as cities have changed over the past 75 years there have been unintended consequences.
As land values have changed in response to demand and supply constraints, businesses and services have been squeezed out of city centres. This in many cases has resulted in an increase of vehicles travelling into city centres and out.
As such, areas that were intended to be clean, calm and conscious to later life living find themselves no longer servicing their residents.
In this case we have to assess how more biologically vulnerable members of the population such as young children and elderly citizens are impacted by stress based environments.
In the example provided we can see the residential neighbourhood of Brentford is surrounded by large arterial service roads. Thus elevating the stress factors in one neighbourhood whilst one nearby scores better.
For placemakers, developers, business owners and local authorities, questions this tool helps answer are:
Which demographics are landlocked in stress inducing environments.
What services and amenities can make a huge long last impact on people’s health.
What is it like to walk to my specific location and what can I do to make it better?